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Int J Cancer. 1992 Dec 2;52(6):959-66.

Second-messenger pathways involved in the regulation of survival in germinal-centre B cells and in Burkitt lymphoma lines.

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Department of Immunology, University of Birmingham, UK.


Spontaneous apoptosis in germinal-centre (GC) B cells can be prevented by treatment with anti-immunoglobulin (Ig). By contrast, susceptible group-I Burkitt lymphoma (BL) cells can be driven to apoptosis by anti-Ig. The second-messenger pathways involved in the regulation of apoptosis in GC B lymphocytes and in BL cell lines were studied using pharmacological agonists or inhibitors of intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) and protein kinase C (PKC). Anti-Ig was found to mobilize Ca2+ in group-I cells. Pre-incubation with the Ca2+ chelator EGTA partially reduced apoptosis induced by anti-Ig or by Ca2+ ionophore in group-I BL cells. Activation of PKC with phorbol ester reduced such Ca(2+)-driven programmed cell death (PCD) to control levels of apoptosis. Apoptosis in group-I BL cell lines could also be triggered by the kinase inhibitors staurosporine and Ro-31-8220 at concentrations selective for PKC activity. Expression of the bcl-2 protein in BL group-I cells following gene transfer affords protection from apoptosis induced by ionomycin or anti-Ig. In the present study, bcl-2 was additionally found to protect from apoptosis driven by staurosporine. The high levels of spontaneous apoptosis exhibited by normal GC B cells were reduced, but not abrogated, by co-culture with phorbol ester. These results indicate that, in group-I BL cells, imbalance in the phosphoinositide pathway of signalling, in favour of [Ca2+]i and away from PKC, results in apoptosis: constitutive phosphorylation of key proteins by PKC may therefore suppress apoptosis in BL as well as in GC B cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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